Sp-Drama: Elite (8.9/10)

MY HIGH SCHOOL DRAMA REVIEW SERIES

(Spain)

Wow. This drama is intense. It’s like Gossip Girl and 13 Reasons Why had a baby. In Spain.

The show, which is on Netflix, takes place at an elite private high school in Spain that accepted scholarship students from across la ciudad (city) after their own school was destroyed. The students are:

Samuel: The white sheep of his small family who is somewhat unassuming and not particularly good with girls at the beginning of the show, but starts to have feelings for one of the rich students, Marina, who isn’t obsessed with her status as an elite like the others. He is best friends with Nadia’s brother Omar (see the description of Nadia below).

Christiano: An outgoing guy who doesn’t let snobbery or adversity keep him down.

Nadia: A Palestinian Muslim who starts the year extremely devout with an academic chip on her shoulder.

The rich kids include Paolo and Carla, a high school power couple who have been together forever, siblings Ben who is a spoiled jocky type and Marina, who is a free spirit or hot mess depending on how you look at it, Lu, one of the top students and a snob who has a thing with Ben, Ander Munoz*, the gay son of the high school principal, and later four additional cast members show up. *He is soooo cute.

As you can imagine, the scholarship students are not welcomed with open arms. They begin as negative novelties to the wealthy kids, but a devastating incident occurs that changes the dynamic between them all.

Kids rally to find the truth, to defend themselves, to seek revenge or to figure out who they are in light of the incident and other high school drama.

Every one of the kids becomes embroiled in the incident or its aftermath. They also find that the boyfriends or girlfriends they were with might not be the ones they wanted to stay with. The relationship musical chairs is a lot like Gossip Girls. So is the slick production. Between the sets, which includes the school. mansions, a low budget apartment, a market and more, and the amazing fashion, the show is pretty high quality. The OST is on point too and includes Mala Rodriguez who I love.

The acting is good too. I got immersed in some of the characters, forgetting at times that they were actors. This show was also similar to 13 Reasons Why. They showed the devastation that an event can cause, and focus on the humanity in everyone, and the potential for redemption.

There were a few things in the show that I did not like.

One was the transition one character made from being good and sweet to a lying superficial puto hell bent on vengeance. It made sense in the story arc but I hate to see anyone turn from goodness towards the dark side. In real life or on TV.

One character was cheated on and shows with cheating, especially when the cheater has no guilt or the cheaters end up together always irk me. I always have a hard time liking the characters who are cheaters.

I also had a slight issue with the fact that these kids who are rich and young and gorgeous, and live in Spain where there are miles of beautiful beaches and art and music and sangria were miserable most of the time. I just wished they had gone to the beach, met some other pretty people, had some wine and garlic butter shrimp, the kind that wafted through the air when I was at the beach in Barcelona, and enjoyed their extremely privileged lives more

What I really didn’t enjoy was the ending. I won’t give it away, but it was reminiscent of the ending of another show whose ending I also loathed. The show is still worth watching to the end, just beware that if you are a bleeding heart like me you may not be cheering for everyone at the end.

Season 4 is coming out on June 18, so hopefully this will resolve my mixed emotions about the last season. I am not hopeful since I hear a new plot begins and half the characters are replaced with new ones, including my favorite. Does that mean I won’t watch? Heck no. I am there for all of it.

Lastly, before you rush to see it, I should mention that Spanish nudity standards are different than other areas of the world so there is a lot of bare skin. The show also brings up ideas around sexual identity and fluidity and shows love between multiple types of partners. I love this because love is love is love but since it includes some super sexytime scenes I think it’s worth mentioning.

Th-Drama: A Tale of Thousand Stars (8.2/10)

Gambling, guns, girl on a bus. That was the beginning of this drama. It was definitely exciting enough and a little mysterious.

It wasn’t clear right away who each character was or what was going on, but I was very interested to find out.

Tien is in the stripes.

Then there was a death and an operation where the main lead Tian gets a heart replacement. His parents who were rich and prominent used their money and status to skip the normal donor line to ensure that their son received a heart in time.

It’s definitely an ethical dilemma. I would likely do the same thing to save my own kid no matter how wrong it was. For most parents, our kids are our lives, the moon, the stars, everything.

The mom in this show grabbed me by the heartstrings before the parents knew they had a donor by crying that she wished it could be her instead of her son.

After this part, the show lost me a little. Tian (the main lead) woke up and heard they had jumped the line for him.. He was mad and upset and also frustrated that his mother was always around making sure he followed the directions given to him about living safely post surgery (so mean of her – eyeroll).

I understand being disappointed that your parents would make an ethically gray decision, but kid YOU LIVED and have a potentially long life ahead of you now. BE GRATEFUL. GEEZ.

Instead Tian acted spoiled and surly to his parents and then went in search of information about the organ donor.

Once he found out who it was, learned the story of her death, and gained access to her journal he became extremely guilty, along with angry and decided to go where she had been and complete the projects she had started.

At this point I almost dropped the show and did stop watching for the evening. Tian’s inability to be thankful that he was alive and privileged, and his outright animosity for his parents who clearly loved him a lot was too much.

BUT I decided to keep going the next evening, mostly out of laziness since I didn’t want to pick out something new and from curiosity. I am really glad I kept watching.

Tian did grow on me. He became a lot sweeter overall, although never to his mom (grrr). I mostly liked him even though he did do at least one thing so stupid I could hardly take it. I actually said out loud “don’t do that, don’t be that dumb.” And then he went ahead and did that dumb thing. (No. I don’t talk my way through shows – most of the time – and this was technically to my kid who in all honestly had tuned out and didn’t care what I was talking about. If you want a spoiler to that extra stupid thing he did, just ask in the comments.)

Tian’s journey took him to a small, rural village in the North of Thailand with no running water or electricity where he would teach children. He was met by a stern and strict forest officer known as Chief Phupha who was not impressed with Tien’s rich kid attitude and spent a lot of time yelling and lecturing him. The Chief also noticed that some of the things the Tien did reminded him an awful lot of the last teacher there, who he had been close with (the one who unbeknownst to him was Tien’s heart donor).

Then like all dramas annoyance and hate turned to secret glances and flirting and then eventually love, despite a series of setbacks.

Most of Tien’s clothes were awful in this show, especially his pants, and the Chief almost always wore a uniform. I actually think the Chief should have just gone shirtless most of the time which would have made for a better wardrobe and better viewing.

This is actually when the drama picked up. I give almost all credit to Earth Pirapat Watthanasetsiri who did such a fantastic, phenomenal acting job that I think he carried a lot of the show. Earth is a veteran BL actor who has played multiple supporting roles. Neither Earth or Chief is my type but the acting was good I had a small crush on the chief by the end of the show.

Note of apology to boys out there, Earth is yet another Thai BL actor who is in a relationship with a girl and likely hopes to transition into straight dramas like some of his friends have. As far as I know, he only acts like he likes boys, but he does a great job, especially in this show, which really is the mark of a great actor.

Sahaphap Wongratch, who played Tien, was alright. In a lot of ways, his character was like a very flighty flirty girl. He was able to play angsty, which not all actors can do. I give him that. It turns that Sahaphap is studying to be a veterinarian IRL, which I love though.

The village

A lot of the show centered around Tien doing something well meaning but dumb, and the Chief being annoyed at first and then finding him adorable. It was also about Tien assuaging his guilt, and finding meaning and happiness in his life despite being somewhere with no amenities where he couldn’t spend his money, except on snacks from one of the shows sponsors 😉 (One of the things that makes me laugh most about Thai dramas is the BLATANT product endorsement that happen repeatedly throughout a show. The products rarely fit in with the plot at all but are added in all the time anyway).

The show also has a number of action scenes since the Chief is a forest officer and there’s a subplot with bad guys, but honestly, they are all pretty cheesy.

The things that make this show so good are Earth, as previously mentioned, His acting really was stellar. The sweet, slow burn romance. The villager characters who were all entertaining to watch. The Chief’s doctor friend and Tien’s two friends, who were the best friends that anyone could have. And the overall vibe during a lot of the show went from thoughtful to joyful. The characters spent a good amount of the show being happy, which was fun to watch. There was also a pretty good OST.

A-Drama: Gossip Girl 9.3/10

MY HIGH SCHOOL DRAMA REVIEW SERIES

Gossip Girl

(America)

Of all the high school shows I have watched this one is still the best, in my humble opinion.

Summary: New York’s elite uber rich teens and a couple middle class siblings all attend a private high school in the city. The kids are constantly spending money and hooking up with each other. Their antics are caught by an anonymous poster called Gossip Girl who shares the info with the entire East Side who get the info online or through text alerts.

Based on the description above, this show could have been bad, all surface and snobbery. But the production is high quality, most of the characters lines are witty (so good that I texted my favs to my friend as I watched the show to share in the LOL’s) and they have couples it’s easy for people to ship. I only like one of those couples, but I’m sure peoples preferences vary.

There are also varied plots that include affairs, blackmail and drugs and multiple identities to keep it interesting.

The fashion on the show is pretty amazing, there are dozens of guest appearances by actors who are more well known now, and there’s Leighton Meester, who I think is fantastic #girlcrush. She plays Blair whose character is easily hateable since she’s a first class snob, rude, even to her friends, and ends up crushing on a black knight with even more unredeeming qualities than her. But somehow she’s my favorite because of the depth of her character and her savage wit.

Blair ends up being the second choice a lot since her best friend is the easy breezy blond socialite Serena, but she keeps giving the people who hurt her redemption and rises up from her defeats every single time.

I wont describe every character in detail since I’d bore you silly. Instead I’ve listed them (minus the parents and characters who only passed through) in my order of my preference so you can score it against your own, if you’ve seen the show or plan to watch it in the future.

Blair Waldorf

Females

Georgina Sparks

Blair Waldorf (see above)

Georgina Sparks (She was close to evil, but she was soo funny, especially during the second half of her show appearances. She made the show more interesting and comical to watch.)

Diana Payne (Played by model Elizabeth Hurley, she was multidimensional in a fun, crazy semi-villainous way)

Vanessa Abrams (She could be cool, but she could also be shady and a hypocrite, pretending to have more ethics than the rich b’s around her when she really didn’t.)

Serena Van Der Woodson

Sabrina van der Woodson (She was boy crazy 24/7 – read codependent, made questionable decisions all the time, and every time someone pointed out that her wrong doings hurt them, she got angry with them then struck out at them, hurting them more. That made it harder for me to like her character. That said, 90% of the time if her best friend needed her she was there in a heartbeat. She also had some amazing jewelry.)

Note: The real Blake Lively sounds like a better person, which I base on this quote by her about her character and GG: ”People loved it, but it always felt a little personally compromising—you want to be putting a better message out there,” Lively told Allure in 2015. “It’s a weird thing when people feel like they know you really well, and they don’t… I would not be proud to be the person who gave someone the cocaine that made them overdose and then shot someone and slept with someone else’s boyfriend.”

Jenny Humphrey (I really dislike this character. She was an obnoxious, dishonest, whoa is me kind of tween villain who blamed everyone else for the trouble she made herself.)

Note: It turns out the actress was just as bad if not worse.

Boys

The Prince (FYI: I would marry him if he were real. This prince was sweet and down to earth, and cultured and he loved art. One of my first real life teen crushes was Prince Andrea Casiraghi so maybe I just have a type. The poor Prince was in such a tortured competition for a lot of his episodes, which made me sad for him.)

I’m Chuck Bass (He was kind of awful. Narcissistic and smarmy and self-destructive BUT his wit and the fact that he owned up to all of his shortcomings made him much more likeable to me.)

Dan Humphrey (Ugh. Dan Humphrey was on his high horse ALL OF THE TIME even when he was personally crawling through the dirt. Anyone who reads my blog knows I am no fan of hypocrites and “Humphrey” was the epitome of one. He was sweet for a minute though, when he was out of Sabrina’s orbit, but that was short lived. That short span of time did keep him from being my least favorite male on the show, so there’s that.)

Nate Archibald (Pardon my language but there’s a reason why the term man hoe was invented. He also had raging double standards, doing the same things he refused to forgive in others, which is why he is at the bottom of my list. He was baby face cute though.)

If you haven’t watched this show and you like any kind of dramas – watch it! It doesn’t matter how old you are or what gender or how humble or snobby you are. I know many different kinds of people who have all liked this show. It is genuinely fun for everyone!

Now the gossip:

Turns out that most of the people on the show dated or hated each other. Here’s an article with the deets even Gossip Girl would appreciate. And here’s a hint about one of those couples:

“Chuck” and “Vanessa”

Best & Worst High School Dramas from around the world

This is my first blog introducing a future blog, but my reasons are good. I hope you’ll like them.

If you’re like me and enamored with high school dramas (I am and I’m not afraid to say it) than I present to you (drumroll please) my upcoming blog series:

Best and worst high school dramas from around the world

I will review new and old dramas full of teens in high school hallways, on beaches, covering up murders and other wholesome activities like that. The shows I think are amazing and addicting and the ones that made me roll my eyes and change the channel.

To start this off, here are the links to my past high school drama reviews:

13 Reasons Why (America): https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/862

Le Coup de Foudre (China): https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/472

Love Revolution (Korea): https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/746

Never Have I Ever (America) (technically a dramedy): https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/668

Great Men Academy (Thailand): https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/546

A Love So Beautiful (China): https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/56

Just Dance (Korea): https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/593

The Big Boss (China) (technically a dramedy): https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/123

Proud of Love (China) (also technically a dramedy: https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/177

I offer this series as a public service to you all for the following reasons:

  • It can help you decide which shows to watch
  • It may open up a new geographical viewing area to you. So many countries have great shows.
  • If you have already seen one you can compare your opinions on it to mine and see where we agree and disagree on things like the plot, production, characters, cast talent and hotness.
  • It can change your mind if you don’t like the high school drama genre

Warning: Series reviews will be sporadic since I work a lot and sometimes I can’t face any more typing when my work day ends, which is why my blogs are posted randomly. Please also note: I will continue doing other reviews of movies and non-high-school themed shows as well.

Th-Drama: Senior Secret Love: My Lil Boy (7/10)

Why God why did I watch this? Even the name is stupid.

Ok, I know how I ended up watching this. It looked like a cutesy Thai high school drama, and sometimes I like them. Unfortunately, I did not like this one so much and fast forwarded through most of it. Mydramalist.com gives it a 7.4, so it looks like most people didn’t like it much.

Here is the summary for the show, which is called Roonpi on Netflix:

Belle is known for her beauty throughout the entire school and she has always been successful getting the man she wants. Yet her charms don’t seem to work when it comes to a junior boy named S that she has taken a liking to. Determined to get S, Belle asks for the help of her two best friends.

My major problem with the show was the lead girl Belle. She was basically a stalker. S, the male lead, told her over and over and over that he wasn’t interested in her and she refused to leave him alone. She lied to be near him, she followed him home, and found any reason to be near him. She also had her girls help with her obsession. They went as far as getting the boy injured to get the two together.

I didn’t find Belle’s consistent stalking charming. I also didn’t understand what made the lead boy so much of a catch to the girls around him. The girls crushing on him wouldn’t stop crying, which was not cute. And randomly, I wondered about the lead actor and rubix cubes, since he has been in c=two shows now where he plays with the cubes a lot. Weird.

This is one show where I did not have any interest in seeing the leads get together or care what happened to them later. The actors were ok though, and the show filmed at a number of places, which helped break up the stalking monotony. Those are the only compliments I can give it.

A-Drama: 13 Reasons Why (8.6/10)

Trigger warning: This show and therefore this blog touches on suicide and other topics that are sometimes hard to talk or hear about.

I had no idea what this show was about when I started it. It was on Netflix and at some point I had added it to my list, based on whatever description of the plot that they gave.

The summary did not accurately reflect the plot. It turned out that the show was about a high school girls suicide and the 13 reasons she gave for why she made that terrible decision. The show is about many of the things that teens / young adults go through in school and with their friends that traumatize them and lead them to make terrible choices.

The first episode was a bit of a lift to get through because the writing was very teenybopper, and I was also surprised by the subject matter, which was somewhat dark. From watching so many dramas though, I’ve learned to push past to the next episodes if there seems like there’s any hope for a show.

It turns out that was a good decision because I really enjoyed the show despite the depressing overtones.

The main characters the first season are Hannah, who died but narrates her life from before and beyond the grave and Clay her work and schoolmate who is clearly crushing on her. Other characters include a few popular jocks, the friends Hannah first met when she started at her high school, and a bullied yearbook nerd. There are also parents, a mom grappling for answers about her daughters death and others concerned about their own children, as well as the principal and high school counselors.

It didn’t seem to me that people were all that broken up about Hannah’s death until they found out they personally contributed to it. Some started to care a little and some began to mourn for her after that. Maybe this is natural, but it was sad to see. Hannah’s death was a tragedy and the show does a good job of pointing to all the little cuts she got from her peers that eventually became a very big wound, large enough to make her feel like life was not worth living.

Viewers also learn that Hannah would have had more love than she knew if she had lived.

Hannah’s character was interesting to watch, although I did not always agree with her choices, especially the big one. After considering it, I didn’t really love any of the characters. Like people in real life there were glimmers of good in everyone but a lot of self absorption too. Some just had more than others or handled situations with a little more kindness or grace.

Clay, the male lead was very loyal, but he was also on his high horse all of the time. There were stereotypical jocks, too entrenched in sports hero culture, students who were bullied, and others who were in between. Most of them, no matter how popular or unpopular were secretly insecure, some of them facing family problems, issues with their cliques, high school gossip or worries over growing into men.

“Clay”

Most of the time I was riveted by this drama. Sometimes I felt pretty sad or frustrated while I watched. It is especially sad that all the issues this show pointed to are the same ones so many kids have in real life. Some of the characters were struggling to redeem themselves after making really bad choices and the show gives viewers the space to grapple with their humanity and what types of consequences they deserve.

I don’t know if the acting was good. I think it was a mixed bag, but the show was intense and interesting enough that it didn’t really matter.

The show has a lot of trigger warnings and disclaimers before the episodes started, which makes sense. Most had the actors speaking in them, including the girl who played Hannah. She is apparently British, which is weird since the show is meant to be at a high school in California and she is meant to be all American. Could the casting director not find one actual American girl for this part?

Because I’m me I managed to watch a show filled with traumatic themes and still spend a good portion of it wondering which people I considered the most attractive lol. The guy who plays Clay is very much my type looks wise. Blue eyes and dark hair are my kryptonite, along with dimples and razor sharp cheekbones. His character was not my type, it was too judgey and too broody for my taste. Many of the guys and girls on the show are pretty people, although everyone is distinct and thankfully there is diversity among characters.

Watch this show, if you haven’t already and you can handle themes of teen suicide, sexual abuse, guns and drugs, to name a few. If any of these are too upsetting to you, then I recommend giving it a pass.

K-Drama: Run On (7.9/10)

My feelings are torn about this drama. I watched it until the end so I definitely enjoyed it. That said, I have to share my controversial opinion that I disliked a good bit about the main leads. and even fast forwarded a few of their scenes.

Here is a summary of the show:

Ki Sun Gyeom is a sports agent who was once a popular sprinter on the national team but was forced to quit due to legal issues. Oh Mi Joo writes translated subtitles for movies. She was thrilled to see her name listed among the credits when she first started. Ki Sun Gyeom had just quit sprinting when he encountered Oh Mi Joo, who felt that destiny most certainly brought them together. Seo Dan Ah is the CEO of a sports agency and rightful successor to the Seomyung Group. Despite this, she is held back from advancing in the company due to her gender. She fiercely wishes to reclaim what is rightfully hers and lives her life accordingly. Lee Young Hwa, a university art major who enjoys movies and drawing soon enters her life. (via AsianWiki)

If you know me IRL my reaction probably isn’t surprising. I hate when people are rude. And I especially hate when people pretend to be great, likable people while being impolite jerks because I dislike hypocrisy most of all in this world.

In the first episode the main female lead is annoyed and bored at a dinner and shares her frustration out loud for the guest of honor and others to hear. Then she escalates a situation that could have been resolved much more easily – and politely. Of course this was a plot point that needed forwarding in order to create the situation for her to meet the male lead and get to know him better, but still.

Throughout the show the female lead continued to state her mind in all situations. I appreciate a strong woman, and appreciated her sense of humor, but she was also tactless. And she insinuated herself into the family drama of a family that wasn’t hers. She did this because she supported the male lead whose family was dysfunctional, but she never knew or asked for the back story to their problems and basically put her nose into things she knew nothing about..

The male lead had some good qualities, like a sense of justice and the type of bluntness and social anxiety that is often reserved for people on the autism scale. This was endearing BUT he was also a spoiled brat. He was one of the neverending k-drama lead rich boys who didn’t receive enough love from his parents and doesn’t know how to handle it as an adult.

He was angry at his parents, which was fair considering their inability to provide him and his sister the love and support they needed, but he wouldn’t maturely talk it out with them, Instead he repeatedly rebelled, had temper tantrums and stormed off. He also had no need to work because of the money he received from his family. He spent a good amount of the show lazing around doing whatever. In my opinion, if he hated his parents so much he should have cut himself off and become self made. Or taken one lump sum from them and left the family, To take their money while yelling at or humiliating his parents every time he saw them was a bit rich.

Basically the leads annoyed me with their lack of manners and filial piety.

What I did like in the show was the pace of the romance, which was not too fast or slow, and the leads took a number of factors into consideration while deciding whether they should be together. The plot was also somewhat quirky, which I always appreciate. And I loved the second female lead. She was rude and tactless too, so why would I love her and dislike the leads? Because she owned it 100%. She was her authentic self at all times and did not pretend she was good or thoughtful. She also peppered her insults with compliments, making her meanness much less cutting. And she was very funny.

I liked the other characters too, such as the second lead who was clearly good hearted. The professor was awful, but funny. The male leads parents who could have been easily dismissed for their awfulness had enough depth that I could not hate them completely. I really liked the second male leads friend and his sister, along with the butler and the female leads only(?) friend too.

Those characters and the overall plot, plus the lack of stressful love triangles helped to cushion my dislike of the leads lack of manners.

Thai Drama: Forever Sunshine, 1st Impressions

I think I’ve seen almost every great Thai Lakorn drama out there. It wasn’t hard. There are only around a dozen lol. Most Lakorn plots are nuts, or the leads are unlikeable, or the production quality is low, so I wouldn’t call most of them great. I watch the semi-bad ones anyway, when I’m in a bad mood, because for some reason they make me feel better.

It’s probably because my life looks pretty good compared to a typical Lakorn family where the wife has to raise the child of her husbands mistress, and the child is mistreated and messed up and comes back later to wreak vengeance on the family before being consigned to a contract marriage with a relative who they end up falling for.

My hope was that Forever Sunshine would not be mediocre, or worse, but would be a great Lakorn. It had a good shot since the lead Mark Prin has been Kleun Cheewit, one of the great Thai dramas. And Husband in Law, which I enjoyed. He is also cute AF.

The plot is fairly standard for a Lakorn. A family becomes indebted to someone and the debt they are expected to pay is irrational. It causes all kinds of problems and the male and female lead go through trials, tribulations, and slap kisses and I assume end up in love in the end.

You’re welcome

I don’t actually know how it ends because I dropped it. For now. Or ever. I might revisit it when I’m in a really bad mood. Or miss Mark Prin’s bangin’ bod. Or both.

I dropped it because the female lead was supposed to be 16 and was trying to seduce a 20(?) year old. I assume nothing happened in the drama until they were both older, but ick. More importantly, the lead females actions, which were whiny and bratty, started to stress me out.

I realized I was feeling anxious while I watched this drama, which is not ok, since I watch dramas to de-stress. That’s when I turned the show off and watched Korea’s Love Revolution instead, which is funny, sweet and fun, and made me feel much happier, calmer and content.

Worst of 2020: The Dramas that went downhill

Sadly, there have been an awful lot of dramas I hated, dropped or couldn’t watch at all in 2020.

Disclaimer: Some of the dramas I hated are well loved by the masses. I just have certain things that I personally hate to see that happened in some of these dramas:

The thing I hate in real life and dramaland is HYPOCRISY. When people are judge-y about bad behavior, but also guilty of bad behavior. Some writers push a plot narrative that the lead characters are great people I am clearly meant to like. Except their interaction with other characters says otherwise.

This is often lead girls who are meant to be sweet as pie, like spunky angels, but are actually immature and snarky towards their love rivals. Thai and Chinese dramas are the most guilty of this.

Example: Likit Haeng Jan

Or it’s lead male characters who are sweet and loving to the lead girl, but completely cold or even cruel to the second leads who love them. I am completely turned off by this. In real life, I would never want to be with a guy who was great to me, but a jerk to other people, and I have trouble rooting for them in dramas.

Example of a guy who is a complete jerk to the second lead: My ID is Gangnam Beauty

I also hate LOVE TRIANGLES – a lot. Especially angsty love triangles where someone, usually someone nice, or trying to be, gets hurt. I watch dramas to increase the joy in my life and watching people end up heartbroken and alone does not do it for me. Unless the second lead is given a love interest or let down very gently I get annoyed and sometimes drop a drama altogether.

Example: The Heirs / Inheritors

OK, disclaimer over. The good news is I didn’t see any many terrible dramas, but I did see some I couldn’t finish or wish I could unsee.

  1. Itaewon Class. Here is my longer review of the show. In short the lead male turned into a complete and total hypocrite. He stabbed his friend and the woman he said he loved in the back for an actual sociopath. Why should I support a mean, crazy person without a conscience? Or hope they get the guy in the end?
  2. It’s Okay Not to be OK (Psycho but it’s OK). Despite great acting and production, I couldn’t get into this for the reasons listed above. I really don’t understand why I should root for an actual psychopath. Or hope the crazy girl gets the guy. Doesn’t that happen enough in real life?
  3. Record of Youth. I think I made it through two or three episodes before I couldn’t watch anymore. It was the hypocrisy. The lead girl was nice, but she kept giving the impression to her co-worker that she was stealing her clients and she never cleared up the misunderstandings. She just let them grow and once her colleague got angry and mean to her, she got mean back. It was irritating to watch. Even Park Bo Gum’s perfect smile wasn’t enough to keep me watching.
  4. Twenty-Twenty. This is a web series where the leads, especially the lead girl were extremely unlikeable. I felt like she went from socially awkward to selfish and entitled. There was also a love triangle that was both angsty and weird. Here is my longer review: https://mydramalist.com/profile/pollysci/reviews.
  5. Hi Bye Mama. My first impressions of this show were great. I actually enjoyed it for the majority of its episodes, although I hypothetically may have cried a lot. But I absolutely hated the end. I won’t give it away, I’ll just say there were a million alternate ways to write it and I think the writers failed completely.
  6. Parallel Love. This show had the makings of a good drama, but it was SOOOOO CHEESY. Something cornball happened every two minutes and it was just too much to bear. Here is my longer review for the show: https://wordpress.com/post/ckdrama.home.blog/686.
  7. Perfect and Casual. I liked the show initially and maybe it got better after I dropped it BUT there were two things annoying me way too much. The first was the lead females dependence on the lead male. She claimed to be independent, but couldn’t seem to elevate her life at all without his obvious or secret assistance. The writers seemed to think I should believe that she was an independent woman, despite all evidence to the contrary. There was also a love triangle that was less than entertaining. I liked the second lead as much as the first and he was more in touch with his own feelings, and therefore more mature, so I wasn’t exactly cheering for the relationship between the leads.
  8. Likit Haeng Jan. This drama has a lot of good qualities. Seasoned actors. An interesting plotline. Some action and mystery. I even like one of the couplings. But the lead girl reacted to the competitive second lead villainess by being vindictive and immature, and it made her unlikeable to me, which made the show less entertaining overall.

2020: Goodbye and mostly good riddance

What a crazy year. To be fair it wasn’t all bad. I started it off at a party full of friends. My new years selfie looked gorgeous. I had a huge crush one someone, during that window when the crush makes you giddy. My life was alright and my kid, who is my everything, was pretty happy too.

Then came my crushing workload that never really ended. My crush turned into a sweet and sour memory. And coronavirus showed up ready to destroy the peace and lives of so many people across the globe.

At first, the pandemic did very little harm to us. My parents, who live in other states were safe, I was sent home to work remotely and the kid was sent to finish school at home, but the work was mostly easy and school expectations were lowered.

We are a team of two, and single parenting without nearby family is basically a course in isolation already, so social distancing wasn’t that hard. I did miss visiting friends and going out to eat, but we took a lot of walks, marathoned dramas* and took some isolating trips, to a really nice cabin in the woods and to a quiet coast where we basked in the waves.

I also started teaching myself to cook Korean food since k-dramas made me crave it like crazy and the restaurants around here are really expensive and carry only the most standard fare. The markets have everything I could ask for to make great meals, and I have made some great ones.

The worst thing about the summer was my workload, which was much more than full-time. And also the growing coronavirus case and casualty count, which was extremely depressing to see.

Then school started up for the youngin’, a new one for her. She got into the ivy league of public schools which should have been the greatest gift, but they started up virtually and did not know what they were doing. The kid had 11 (yes 11!) classes and a new online system that was complete chaos and an insane class and homework workload. I was forced to work and act as part-time teacher, tech support and emotional support and it was exhausting.

My child started having anxiety attacks because she had too much work, the teachers didn’t accurately calculate the amount of time things would take to complete, she didn’t know and couldn’t see her classmates and her teachers were too overwhelmed to remember that kids like her were new and struggling to get adapted and fit in.

For a few months, life went to hell in a handbasket.

Luckily we sought help for her anxiety and alerted her teachers, the school improved their virtual schedules and teaching methods and things started getting better.

I have continued to work 40-50-60 hour weeks, but I have at least perfected watching shows as I work, even reading subtitles while I write reports etc. Pretty bad*** right?

And despite the hard times, there has been a lot of smiling and giggling, cuddling, and walks amongst the flowers this year.

And now we will have a president who isn’t a few tools short of a toolbox, which gives me some hope for the new year ahead. So do coronavirus vaccines.

I have mixed feelings about the last year, but I am happy to see it wave goodbye. I look forward to the new year and hope it improves on the one before it, not just for me and my sweet kid, but for you and your families, and everyone everywhere.

Best moments of the year:

  • Sitting in the sunlight, next to a waterfall, with my feet in the water, while pink flower blossoms rained down in the breeze.
  • Watching and laughing at Reply 1994 with my kid who has been all in on this drama.
  • Having a picnic with two very happy kids while the sun sets in bright pink and purple colors behind us.
  • A very sweet date that made me smile and laugh and learn new things about the person I was interested in.
  • Intertubing on a lazy river during a drizzle.
  • Taking car trips to try new things, and eat new food, and bond with my kid, while schooling her on good music along the way.

*The kids favorite dramas that she watched this year are Reply 1994 (Korea), Fake Princess (China) and The Gifted (Thailand), and she loves Gabby and the Untouchables on Disney (America).

Here is a list of my favorite dramas of 2020.

HAPPY NEWS YEARS EVERYONE!